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FBI Searching for Assets in U.S. of Ousted Tunisian Pres. Ben Ali

Ousted Pres. Ben Ali

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to figure out if ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and other officials have assets in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.

Agents, along with a new Justice Department team, are looking for “proceeds of theft by foreign officials,” the Journal reported.

The paper reported that European nations have moved to freeze funds of Ben Ali they believe were stolen from his country.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after he was ousted.

Ex-Nashville U.S. Atty. John Roberts Dies at age 74

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Nashville U.S. Attorney John Roberts, who served during the Clinton administration, died Sunday after a long illness, the Memphis Post reported. He was 74.

After leaving his post, Roberts served as executive director of the Livingston-Overton County Chamber of Commerce.

Previously, he served as a General Sessions Court judge.

The paper reported that he briefly returned to the bench in 2006 at the request of Gov. Phil Bredesen. He temporarily filled a vacancy due to a contested election.

U.S. Atty’s Office Says Chandra Levy Killer Poses “Grave Danger” to Community; Asks for Life Sentence

Ingmar Guandique

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It hardly comes as a surprise that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking a judge to sentence Chandra Levy’s killer to life in prison without parole.

The Washington Post reports that the prosecutors, in asking for a life sentence,  wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday that convicted killer Ingmar Guandique, 29, “demonstrated predatory behavior that seems incapable of rehabilitation” and he “posed a grave danger” to the community.

Sentencing is set for Friday for Guandique, who was convicted in November of killing Levy, 24, who vanished in 2001. Her skeletal remains were found in Rock Creek Park in Northwest Washington a year later. Charges were filed against Guandique while he was in prison serving a 10 year sentence for attacking two woman in that park the same year Levy disappeared.

Chandra Levy

The sentencing memo written by prosecutors Amanda Haines, Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez and Chris Kavanaugh also noted that Guandique had attacked a woman at knifepoint in El Salvador before coming to the U.S. at age 19 and that he masturbated in front of a female prison guard, the Post reported.

Guandique’s attorney’s have asked for a new trial.

FBI Agents Nab New England Mobster in Idaho After 17 Years on the Lam

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After changing his name and being on the lam for 17 years, the FBI on Monday nabbed suspected New England mobster Enrico Ponzo in Idaho, the Boston Herald reported.

The paper reported that Ponzo, 42, — suspected of being part of New England’s Patriarca Family –faces a host of charges including racketeering, firearms offenses and conspiracy to murder.

The paper reported that he is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Idaho on Wednesday where prosecutors will move to ship him back to Boston to face a 40-count indictment.  He was arrested in the town of Marsing in southwestern Idaho.

The FBI alleged that he was involved in multiple murder attempts including a botched one on crime boss “Cadillac” Frank Salemme in 1989, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

Some Scratch Head: Wonder Why R.I. Fed Prosecutors Were Left Out of Loop on Major Drug Bust Linked to Mexican Cartels

U.S. Atty. Peter Neronha/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The unusual circumstances warranted this headline in the Providence Journal on Wednesday: “U.S. Prosecutors Left in the Cold on Drug Bust.”

The paper reported that when state police and DEA agents in Providence, R.I., last week announced the seizure of 145 pounds of cocaine, $1.2 million in cash and the arrest of three men allegedly linked to the Mexican drug cartels, “it came as news” to fed prosecutors.

“We were unaware of this investigation,” Jim Martin, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, told the paper. “These are the types of cases we certainly would want to prioritize.”

To read the full story click here.

13 States Ask Justice Dept. to Help Find Execution Drug


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — States around the country are turning to the Justice Department for help in locating an execution drug, the Associated Press reports.

AP reported that 13 states signed a letter sent to the Justice Department asking for help scoring sodium thiopental after the only U.S. manufacturer stopped producing it and the overseas supplies became scarce.

The states that signed the letter included: Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Justice Department spokeswoman Alisa Finelli told AP that the agency is reviewing the letter.

More than Embarrassing: Nevada Fed Prosecutor’s Ex-Husband Steals More than $3.7 Mil

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Call it more than a little embarrassing when you’re an official in a U.S. Attorney’s Office and your ex-husband gets caught stealing more than $3.7 million.

Well, that’s just exactly what happened to Sudabeh Fahami, deputy chief in charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office branch in Reno, Nev., according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Ex-husband Stephen Marich awaits sentencing on federal charges of embezzlement. Marich, vice president of the First National Bank of Ely in east-central Nevada, pleaded guilty Monday to embezzling more than $3.7 million from the bank from customers’ Treasury accounts, the Review-Journal reported. The thefts spanned at least nine years, but the paper reported that authorities found no reason to charge the wife.

The paper reported that the thievery helped fuel his gambling habit which included online betting with overseas Internet casinos.

“Mr. Marich had a horrible, horrible gambling problem that got out of control,” defense attorney Scott Freeman told the paper. “He has nothing to show for it.”

The paper reported that Marich skipped town for a while after bank officials confronted him about the crime in December 2009. He subsequently stepped down as an Ely City Council member. Sentencing is set for May 11.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Agent Warns Business Sector of Theft of Trade Secrets

FBI Agent Kevin Moberly/ticklethewire.com

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — In the most appropriate of places — the International Spy Museum in Washington — FBI Supervisory Special  Agent Kevin Moberly of the Economic Espionage Unit on Tuesday addressed a group of business people about the theft of corporate secrets.

“Who’s the target…? Pretty much everybody,” he told the group at a luncheon organized by the American Society of Industrial Security — National Capital Chapter and sponsored by NOVA Technical Services, a Virgina-based company that specializes in technical surveillance countermeasures.

Moberly said every aspect of corporate secrets seems to be fair game, from aerospace to biological and agricultural secrets, and the thieves can be competitors or foreign nations.

He told the business crowd what to be on the look out for with questionable employees: Frequent international travel; changes in behavior; an unexpected resignation and downloading data prior to leaving the company.

During the presentation, he noted that a Russian KGB agent in the 1980s said his nation only needed the defection of three American generals to win the cold war: General Motors, General Electric and General Dynamics.

He detailed the case against Dongfan “Greg” Chung, a Boeing stress analyst, who was busted for leaking highly classified information  to the Chinese government for decades. Agents found about 300,000 pages of trade secret-proprietary papers in his Southern California home on the U.S. space shuttle, a booster rocket and military troop transports.  He was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison in 2010.

Moberly also warned that business people traveling abroad need to be careful about securing top secret materials in places like hotel rooms.  He showed a video of Chinese agents entering a hotel room with the help of the hotel employees, and going through an American businessman’s belongings in an apparent search of secrets. At some point, he said,  they discovered a hidden camera, which was installed by the American company, and wondered whose camera it was.

When asked by a member of the audience whether some companies refuse to cooperate with the FBI because they prefer that the theft of trade secrets not  be made public, he simply said: “Yes.”